Houston proposes chronic illness treatment and prevention program

Upon taking the helm of Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservative Party and leading the PC Caucus to Government, Tim Houston will advance the idea of a Chronic Illness Treatment and Prevention Program with an investment of $100 million to focus on chronic care management.

Citing the success of the INSPIRED COPD Outreach Program, Houston sees significant benefit in expanding the model to support Nova Scotians with other chronic health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis. The program, championed and supported by the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement with additional sponsorship from Boehringer Ingelheim Canada, has been successfully scaled up and spread across Canada over the past four years.

As described on the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s site, the INSPIRED Program “brings together a team of professionals to provide education and support to people with COPD and their families in their homes to help them cope better with COPD.” The program came about as a response to huge gaps in care identified via an earlier research program involving patients and families with COPD.

“The INSPIRED model is saving $21 for every $1 invested, and has the potential to save Nova Scotia $20 million over the next five years,” says Houston, MLA for Pictou East. “This program already exists, clearly its working, let’s expand on that success for a focused approach on other chronic health conditions that are not being adequately or efficiently addressed under the current model.”

Houston says that properly managed chronic illnesses will help Nova Scotians be less reliant on the overburdened ER system and decrease hospital admissions, also noting that it will allow many seniors with chronic health conditions to remain in their own homes.

Dr. Ajantha Jayabarathan, known as “Dr. A.J.”, commends Houston’s approach, “Despite the hard work of many in the Nova Scotia health system, there are serious and life threatening gaps in the system of care,” says Dr. Jayabarathan, MD, Director of Coral Shared-Care Health Centre Ltd. “Community based chronic disease management programs are non-existent or under-resourced.”

This is the second position Houston has taken on health care this week. On Tuesday, Houston announced his intentions to create a Ministry of Addictions and Mental Health if selected as PC Party Leader and successful in forming the next Government.

“We need to set a higher benchmark for success when it comes to health care in this Province,” says Houston. “It’s time to shift gears by implementing bold, innovative ideas while being accountable and direct with Nova Scotians.”

“That’s how we get doctors to believe our Province is a viable option, that’s how we respect our health care workers and it’s how we establish and maintain a healthier Nova Scotia.”

Letters from Doctors in support of Tim's approach to healthcare

Sydney, NS
Your ability to listen to us and incorporate the physician view is a key reason that I support your campaign. It is safe to say that as a group, physicians have not felt listened-to by recent governments. I am optimistic that this will change with Tim Houston as Premier...

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Dr. Stephanie LANGLEY
North Sydney, NS
Tim’s plan will free up congestion for family doctors and ERs. If it is half as successful as the Inspire program, I expect we will quickly see better outcomes for our patients.

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Queens County, NS
From basic “COPD” Best Practices Guidelines to inclusion of our provincial physicians through Doctors Nova Scotia, I sincerely believe your intention is for ACTION in the health care field.

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